From the Rav’s Desk: Bishul Akum for Sephardim; Sewing torn garment to wear on Rosh Chodesh 

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 30th Tishreiy 5783]

I am a non-Moroccan Sephardi and am touring Morocco with a group. We went to the local Shul in Marakesh [which has a kitchen] to pick up some Kosher food and they offered our group deep fried dough, known as spingim [i.e. Sufganiyot]. The dough, however, was entered into the oil by local Moroccan gentiles. The Shamash at the shul told us that he threw a twig into the fire so it be Pas Yisrael. Is there any issue with us eating from these spingim. I know that Sephardim are more strict than Ashkenazim regarding Bishul Akum, so I wanted to know if it is permitted for us to eat these Spingim?



As a non-Moroccan Sephardi, you should not eat it. It may be eaten by Ashkenazim, and by those who keep Moroccan custom. Furthermore, in a time of need in this specific case, even regular Sephardim have upon whom to rely if they eat it, even though some are stringent even here.

Explanation: Regarding baking bread, everyone agrees that by a Jew lighting the flame of an oven one prevents the bread from becoming Pas Akum, even if a gentile later entered the bread inside and bakes it. However, by cooked foods, it is disputed amongst the Rishonim and Poskim if simply having a Jew turn on the flame so suffices to prevent the prohibition of Bishul Akum, or if one must have a Jew actually cook the food by placing it into the pot or over the flame. Practically, while Ashkenazim are lenient, Sephardim are stringent, with exception to Moroccan Jews who are accustomed to be lenient in this matter as rules the Rama and Ashkenazim. Now, while baked dough is subject to Pas Akum, and therefore is perfectly Kosher according to all even if the Jew simply turns on the flame, deep fried dough is subject to Bishul Akum and hence simply having a Jew turn on the flame does not suffice and the food remains forbidden for Sephardim. However, some Poskim rule that the prohibition of Bishul Akum never applies in the home of a Jew, when a gentile worker cooks the food. Hence, Bedieved or a time of need, some Sephardi Poskim rule that even a Sephardi may be lenient to eat the above Sufganiyot that were cooked in the Shul by gentile workers, having had the flame raised by a Jew. However, other Sephardi Poskim are stringent even in such a case.

Sources: See regarding lighting the fire to avoid Pas Akum: Michaber 112:9; Avoda Zara 38b See regarding lighting the fire to avoid Bishul Akum: Michaber and Rama 113:6-7; Taz 113:6 and 8; Shach 113:12; Kaf Hachaim 113:53; Rav Poalim Y.D. 3:9; Pesakim Uteshuvos 113:16-17; See regarding law for Sephardim being stringent Bedieved: Kaf Hachaim 113:53; Rav Poalim Y.D. 3:9 [stringent even in house of Jew]; See regarding that deep fried dough is subject to Bishul Akum: Rivash 28; Peri Chadash 112:17; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112:14; Birkeiy Yosef 112:11; Kaf Hachaim 112:36 and 43; Yechaveh Daas 5:53; Sefer Hakashrus 19 footnote 14; See regarding the home of a Jew and gentile worker: Michaber and Rama 113:4; Shach 113:7; Rav Poalim O.C. 4:6 and Kaf Hachaim 112:38 [stringent even Bedieved for Sephardim]; Pesakim Uteshuvos 113:12 footnote 138; Hakashrus 19 footnote 43; Poskim who are lenient for Sephardim when Jew turned on flame due to sfek Sfeika: Yabia Omer 9 Y.D. 6-4

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 30th Tishreiy 5783]

My school uniform skirt is torn and I do not have another one to wear. May I sew it on Rosh Chodesh so I can wear it today?



You may sew it with a Shinuiy, irregularity, such as sewing with wider stitches.

Explanation: The custom is to avoid all clothing related work on Rosh Chodesh, including sewing, unless you have a specific custom in your family to permit doing so. Nonetheless, certainly the abstaining from work on Rosh Chodesh should not be more severe than Chol Hamoed, and even on Chol Hamoed one may sew with a Shinuiy, and hence the same applies to Rosh Chodesh.

Sources: See regarding women not doing work on Rosh Chodesh: Michaber and Rama 417:1; Shabbos 24a; Erechin 10b; Chagiga 18; Moed Katan 18a; Yerushalmi Taanis 1:6; M”A 417:3 that “one may not be lenient with them at all”; Biur Halacha 417 “Vahanashim Nohagos”;  See regarding women not sewing on Rosh Chodesh: Tashbatz 3:244 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 417 regarding weaving; Sheivet Halevy 6:50 in name of Daas Torah that so is the custom today regarding all forms of sewing, including mending clothing that require fixing;; Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted for a woman to sew on Rosh Chodesh and the prohibition is only against weaving clothing. [Tashbatz 3:244; Shaareiy Teshuvah 417] The Machazik Bracha 417:2 concludes that each woman is to follow her custom, and so also brings Kaf Hachaim 417:30; See regarding allowance to do all Melacha permitted on Chol Hamoed: Ashel Avraham Butchach Tinyana 417; Halichos Bas Yisrael 15 footnote 4; See regarding sewing on Chol Hamoed: Michaber and Rama 541:5; Moed Katan 8b; Makor Chaim 541:4; Beir Moshe 7:89; SSH”K 66:51; Chol Hamoed Kehilchaso 8:82; Piskeiy Teshuvos 542:5


  1. Question: [Tuesday, 30th Tishreiy 5783]

I am a Mohel and was asked by a barren couple to provide them a foreskin for them to use [i.e. for her to consume] for the Segula of having children. I am very wary of doing so, and am not even sure its Halachically allowed. However, they are pleading to me as they have not had children after being married ten years, and were instructed to do so by their Rabbi.



You may not give them the foreskin for this purpose, and you are rather to bury it, as Halachically required.

Explanation: Although the above Segula is recorded in Sefarim, and some even claim miracle births as a result of it, practically the vast majority of Poskim prohibit it due to the prohibition of consuming flesh of a human, as well, doing so transgresses the Issur of Baal Tishaktzu, nullifies the Halachci ruling and age-old tradition to bury the Arla in earth, and enters a putrid item of Kelipos into the body.

Sources: Poskim who record and defend the Segula: Sefer Mareh Hayeladim Mareches Hei Os 10; Yifei Mareh p. 240; Poskim who record and negate the Segula: Shulchan Gavoa 79:7; Machaneh Yisrael 84; Rashbash 518; Machazik Bracha 79:2; Zivcheiy Tzedek 79:15; Darkei Teshuvah 79:15; Ben Ish Chaiy Emor 2:5; Kaf Hachaim 79:12; Sova Semachos [Y. Yosef] 2:8 footnote 15; 60:15; Otzer Habris Shaar 3 chapter 3:13; Sefer Rafael Hamalach; Or Torah Vol. 398:38 Poskim who prohibit eating human flesh: Rama 79:1; Darkei Moshe 79:2; Bach 79; Rambam Machalos Assuros 2:3; Maggid Mishneh on Rambazm ibid; Ritva Kesubos 60a; Ran Kesubos 60a; Reah, brought in Shita Mekubetzes Kesubos 60b [transgresses Biblical negative command]; Taz Y.D. 79:3; Shach Y.D. 81:3; Kneses Hagedola 79:5; Lechem Chamudos 79:1; Erech Hashulchan 79:1; Peri Toar 79:3; Karban Aron Shemini; Ben Ish Chaiy Emor 2:5; Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 79:9; and 12; Halichos Olam 6:221; Malbim Vayikra 11:4; Poskim who rule there is no prohibition to consume human flesh: Setimas Michaber and Tur; Raavad Machalos Assuros 2:3; Ran Kesubos 24b; Ramban Vayikra 11:3 and Chidushim Kesubos 60b; Rashba Teshuvah 1:364, 3:257 and Chidushim Kesubos 60b; Implication of Tosafus Kesubos 60a; Rosh Kesubos 5:19, although is Rabbinically forbidden to cut off body and eat in his opinion; See Taz Y.D. 79:3 in opinion of Rosh; Peri Chadash 79:6 in opinion of Michaber and Tur who omitted the prohibition, and so is his conclusion Lehalacha; See Rashbash ibid; See regarding burying the Arla: Michaber Y.D. 260:10; Tur 265; Beis Yosef 265; Pirkeiy Derebbe Eliezer 29; Targum Yonason Bamidbar 23:10; Baal Haturim Bamidbar 23:10; Zohar Lech Lecha 91a; Yireim 402; Hagahos Maimanos Mila 3:5; Rikanti 599; Rokeiach; Ittur; Hamanhig; Or Zarua; Abudarham; Rashal Yevamos 8:4; Levush 265; Shelah Chulin 91 in name of Tolas Yaakov; Tzeror Hamor Lech Lecha and Ki Seitzei; Hagahos  Maharash Vital Shaar Mamarei Chazal Shabbos 2; Sefer Bnei David Tazria 9; Nehar Afarsamon O.C. 27; Otzer Habris 3:15-22; Pesakim Uteshuvos 265:25

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